ARRESTS MADE IN INVESTIGATION INTO BRAZILIAN CLUB FIRE
As previously reported, a fire destroyed the Kiss Club in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria, in the country's Southern-most region of Rio Grande do Sul. As with similarly tragic club fires in recent years, including that in 2003 in Rhode Island, it is thought the blaze was started by pyrotechnics on stage, and spread quickly when soundproofing materials caught fire.
Reports suggest that, as materials in the club started to burn, toxic fumes spread, adding to the death toll. Eyewitnesses also say that fire extinguishers in the venue didn't work, and that the evacuation of the building was hindered because security guards - not realising what was happening inside - wouldn't let people leave the club before they had settled their tabs, the venue seemingly operating a special card-payment system.
Amongst those quoted about the incident in local media was guitarist Rodrigo Martins, whose band Gurizada Fandangueira was playing at the time of the fire. He told Radio Gaucha: "We had played around five songs when I looked up and noticed the roof was burning. It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, and our singer tried to use it but it wasn't working".
Funerals began yesterday for some of those who died in the fire. Because the club was hosting a student event, most of those who died were aged between sixteen and 20.
INDIES HIT OUT AT ALL NEW MYSPACE
But then MySpace got bought by some advertising guys, who are relying on Justin Timberlake for music business insights, and the all new music-at-its-heart version of the former social network launched earlier this month without Merlin on board. And then MySpace management told the Merlin labels who discovered their content was still on the relaunched site, despite the lack of a licence, to submit their takedown notices for each rogue track they find.
Which is why the new look MySpace - keen to re-establish itself as a platform for new artists looking to engage fans - was very much enemy number one at a meeting of indie labels at MIDEM in Cannes yesterday. In fact, it felt like 2003 all over again, with Alison Wenham of the Association Of Independent Music and World Independent Network on top form.
According to MusicAlly, the AIM chief said of the new MySpace: "There is an impression, a complacence, and I would suggest an arrogance which is offensive, that you do deals with the majors, and the independent sector should be somehow grateful for the promotional value that these services will apparently bring to your artists and to you. If you follow that to its logical conclusion, all your activities would be promotional benefit".
On MySpace's seeming nonchalance towards its non-deal with Merlin, and the continued presence of Merlin label content on its platform, while also noting that's its not entirely clear what happened to the majors' equity stakes in the old MySpace Music subsidiary when News Corp sold the digital firm to Specific Media (ie are Sony, Universal and Warner shareholders in the new MySpace?), Wenham continued: "It's absolutely repugnant to the spirit of cooperation and the balancing of interests commercially that this should have been MySpace's response".
So, take that Timberlake, and get your digital house in order before you try to reclaim your seat on planet pop. Read more about the indie labels' MySpace wrath in MusicAlly's full report from MIDEM here.
RICK ROSS ESCAPES DRIVE-BY SHOOTING
The couple asked not to be named in official statements on the incident, but eyewitnesses and (it seems) unnamed police sources have confirmed their identities. Although no one was injured, and the car, a Rolls Royce, was also unscathed, the windows of several nearby businesses were hit by bullets.
The shooting took place in Fort Lauderdale, where Ross has reportedly recently bought a house. Last year he denied claims that he had cancelled a number of gigs due to gang threats.
DESTINY'S CHILD NOT PERFORMING AT THE SUPER BOWL, SAYS WILLIAMS
It therefore doesn't take the wildest imagination to assume that this means the group will have a little live reunion at the big sporting event. But this is not so says Michelle Williams. She has other plans already.
The singer told WRUG Radio: "That's not confirmed. It is rumoured. I'm gonna be in the musical 'Fela!' I hate to disappoint the people and tell them that it's not true".
This almost certainly means it is true. Watch the interview here.
AZEALIA BANKS NOW PLANNING JUST ONE SINGLE TO PLACATE WAITING FANS
After a "BIG CHANGE OF PLANS" (Banks initially said she'd release two tracks, 'Miss Amor' and 'Miss Camaraderie') it'll be titled 'Yung Rapunxel', and features "prod" by "seapunk" DJ Lil Internet. Seapunk, I ask you.
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NEW LP FROM THE HAXAN CLOAK CONFIRMED
ELTON JOHN WORKING ON MUSICAL FOR CHILDREN
Furnish told the publication: "Later this year we begin filming 'Rocketman', a biopic of Elton's early life. Towards the end of the year we are also planning to open a children's musical on Broadway".
So there you go. Furnish and John recently became parents for the second time, when their second son Elijah was born to a surrogate mother.
THE WHO TO TOUR QUADROPHENIA
YEAH YEAH YEAHS ANNOUNCE SHOWS
1 May: Manchester, Apollo
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
"Playing again with The Rats and doing those great songs again will be exciting afresh", intones frontman Bob Geldof, adding: "We were an amazing band and I just feel it's the right time to re-Rat, to go back to Boomtown for a visit". 'Visiting Boomtown' just about works, Bob. 'Re-Rat' not so much. You might want to work on that before June.
Anyway, let's now to a look at today's total collation of FLUUs - as also features new additions to Belgium's Rock Werchter, the Tewksbury-set Lakefest, and Dutch dance happening Lente Kabinet:
BEARDED THEORY, Kedleston Hall Park, Derby, 17-19 May: Stiff Little Fingers. www.beardedtheory.co.uk
TAYLOR SWIFT TO FLOG DIET COKE
Says Coke's Katie Bayne: "Taylor's unmatched business savvy, talent and drive to succeed are an inspiration to everyone. She's an extraordinary individual and a wonderful symbol of achievement. Taylor tells us that every day Diet Coke plays a small part in helping her stay extraordinary. It's one of the many reasons she's the ideal partner to represent our brand".
Meanwhile Swift has assured us all of the crucial role Diet Coke plays in her life, revealing: "I've said for years that Diet Coke just 'gets me' and my lifestyle". Which finally explains the big Taylor Swift/Harry Styles split - he's a Pepsi Max boy for certain.
CD SALES RISE IN JAPAN IN 2012, BUT DIGITAL FUTURE STILL KEY
According to local trade mag McClureMusic, this is the first time CD shipments increased year-on-year since 1998. Though, of course, physical music sales overall are still significantly down on the 1990s, and the growth in sales in 2012 has been put down to just three releases, and in particular CDs sales generated by the local girl group franchise phenomenon that is AKB48.
As previously reported, when it comes to digital Japan is someway behind Europe and North America, mainly due to local labels that are both powerful and digitally resistant. To date the most successful digital services in Japan have been mobile-based though, just as mobile music is taking off elsewhere in the world, sales in that domain were down in Japan last year.
Labels in the Japanese market will now likely be hoping that those digital services that have prospered in Europe can finally gain some traction there too. Sony Music Japan finally licensed its catalogue to Apple's iTunes in the country last year, and launched its Sony Music Unlimited streaming service too.
Other subscription platforms are now also plotting Japanese launches, label licenses permitting, with both Spotify and Rdio thought to be getting close to launching there. Indeed Spotify is recruiting for its Tokyo office as we speak.
INDIE LABEL COMMUNITY STEPS UP GLOBAL EFFORTS
The new initiatives follow a dramatic year for the independent domain, which saw its two biggest rivals, Universal Music and Sony Music, both significantly enlarged through their respective acquisition of the EMI record company and music publishing business. Officially the indie sector opposed both acquisitions, though some key players in the independent community broke rank, especially once Universal chief Lucian Grainge made promises to sell off a chunk of EMI's label assets in Europe to independent players.
Nevertheless, the new global council and manifesto reunites indie chiefs from both sides of the debate on the EMI issue, with one of the most prominent independent bosses, certainly in the UK, Beggars' Martin Mills telling CMU: "These days independents offer a very different route to market to artists than the majors do - and it's great to have that down in words, and to spell out what matters to us".
The inaugural WIN council is as follows:
Michael Gudinski, Mushroom (Australia)
Meanwhile, the WIN Independent Manifesto reads thus...
1. We, the independents, will work to grow the value of music and the music business. We want equal market access and parity of terms with Universal, Warner and Sony, and will work with them in areas where we have a common goal. We will work to ensure that all companies in our sector are best equipped to maximise the value of their rights.
2. We support creators' freedom to decide how their music may be used commercially, and we will encourage individual artists and labels to speak out directly against unauthorised uses of music as well as commercial uses of music that stifle that freedom. We support creators' right to earn a living from their work, which should be respected as a basic human right.
3. We support independent music labels that treat their artists as partners and who work with them on reasonable commercial terms, noting that labels are investors who deserve a fair return alongside their artists.
4. We promote transparency in the digital music market; artists and companies are entitled to clarity on commercial terms.
5. We oppose further consolidation in the recorded music, publishing and radio sectors since this is bad for independent music companies, their artists and fans, as it reduces market access and consumer choice.
6. We support initiatives which confront market abuse, and which aim to adapt competition laws to promote independent market access and foster collective responses by independents to potentially anti-competitive conduct by large operators.
7. We recognise that all independent music businesses contribute to local culture, diversity, jobs and export opportunities, and multiply the economic success of related industries. We will ask governments to promote and support the independent music sector in securing access to finance and tax credits, and to local and international markets.
8. We hold that collecting society revenues must be allocated and distributed accurately and transparently. This includes distribution of unclaimed money that logically belongs to the independents. We will push for the independent sector to be formally represented in the governance of collecting societies, with trade associations being eligible for board seats.
9. We support the creation of a worldwide track-level sound recording rights database, subject to neutral governance and ownership, to ensure accurate distribution of rights revenues to their rightful owners.
10. The independents will, as always, actively encourage and support new commercial opportunities for music, and will continue to support and develop new, legitimate business structures and partnerships.
EDM COMMUNITY LAUNCHES NEW TRADE ORGANISATION
Although for a brief moment on Sunday morning in Cannes it did feel like we should abolish them all, and instead form an orderly queue behind the mighty Martin Mills, our compassionate and impassioned yet forceful leader, as he delivered a call to arms in the form of his Billboard Icon Award acceptance speech.
But then someone pointed out that Martin had a record company to run and didn't have time to single-handedly fight the dark forces of the digital world (aka Google), so that plan had to be abandoned. But worry not, we can still rely on AA-ABO-AFO-AIF-AIM-ASTA-BASCA-BPI-CPA-ERA-FAC-FMS-ISM-MIA-MMF-MPA-MPG-MU-NAA-PPL-PRS-PSA-STAR-UK Music to fight our various corners.
Or perhaps not if you happen to be working in that recently expansive suburb of Pop City called EDM, because the dance community - presumably reckoning their interests aren't fully represented by the aforementioned 24 music industry organisations (and their counterparts worldwide) - yesterday launched The Association For Electronic Music. And it'll be an interesting grouping, bringing together as it does agents, promoters, retailers, labels and managers, operating at both the corporate and grass roots end of the market, united by their genre specialism.
The founding board of advisors for the new "global advocacy and lobbying group" includes Beatport's Matthew Adell, Cream/Live Nation's James Barton, Insomniac's Carlos Correal, Positiva's Jason Ellis, Little Empire Music's Stephanie LaFera, WME's David Levy, CAA's Maria May, Big Beat's Liz Miller, AM Only's Paul Morris, Ultra/Sony's Patrick Moxey, Armada Music's Maykel Piron, ID&T's Duncan Stutterheim, ATM Artists' Amy Thomson, IBZ Entertainment's Danny Whittle, the Windish Agency's Tom Windish and John Truelove. Meanwhile legendary producer Nile Rodgers, currently working with Daft Punk, will serve as the first AFEM Ambassador.
Commenting on the new organisation, and their motivation to set it up, Nasseri told CMU: "This is an historic day, the launch of the first international trade body representing a single genre since the Country Music Association began in 1958. Our motivation is wholly positive - to ensure electronic music gets the recognition and status it deserves. It is time for the many companies and individuals involved in our business to speak with a unified voice to represent the genre and to address the issues. And that is the mission of the Association For Electronic Music.
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PRS ALLIANCE WITH NORDICS ON MECHANICALS NOW FULLY LAUNCHED
The joint venture, a standalone entity headquartered in Copenhagen but with a base in London, is now handling so called recorded media royalties (so, royalties paid to publishers via the collective licensing system by labels releasing recordings of songs) in nine countries.
For PRS, which transferred some staff, IT and assets over to NMP last year, the new alliance provides access to new systems developed by NCB for the management of core mechanical royalties (which technically go through the MCPS side of the PRS operation in the UK). PRS says that - with the mechanical royalties revenue stream in decline as record sales slide - alliances such of this are a better way for the society to deliver efficiencies to its members.
NMP is now led by MD Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen, who told CMU: "We're especially pleased with the success NMP has had in its first year. The company is providing an excellent and enhanced service to all of its customers, enabling consolidation, shared investment and reduced costs. 2013 will be the year for growth and we're actively talking to new partners to see what NMP can do for them".
Meanwhile, PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft, added: "In a declining physical market it is essential for us to work with a partner for recorded media processing. Updating our own infrastructure and systems independently would have been prohibitively expensive for our members. NMP has enabled us to improve our offering and deliver vital royalty money to our membership. We are now in a position to grow this business, rather than manage its decline".
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EVENTIM ALLIANCE WITH SMG EUROPE GOES LIVE
Confirming the new alliance, SMG Europe MD John Sutherland told CMU: "The five year deal with Eventim brings a new focus to our ticketing services. The new platform allows us to respond quicker and more efficiently to the requirements of promoters and the general public. Eventim also has some exciting new ticketing initiatives in the pipeline".
Meanwhile Eventim UK's Nick Blackburn added: "During the lead up period to implementation we have reviewed business processes and further enhanced our state of the art technology. The relationship with SMG is very important to us and a real stepping stone in our determination to grow our business in the UK".
RDIO ANNOUNCES FREE STREAMING OPTION IN UK
Spotify has proven, of course, that some sort of freemium service is a great way to upsell premium packages. Despite introducing various listening limitations in the past, Spotify currently relies on ad irritations persuading free users to upgrade. Of course, with Rdio's albeit limited freemium offer being ad-free, some of those Spotify freemium users may be tempted to switch to the alternative freebie service in the short-term.
MIDEM ANNOUNCEMENTS, WEBDOC, NOKIA, SAMSUNG, SOUNDROP
London-based start-up Webdoc, which provides social-media style tools for labels and artists, has rebranded as Urturn and announced a new service called Expression, designed to help users monitor and promote user-generated content from across the social networks. Says co-founder Vincent Borel: "Everyone was saying engagement is the new metric, but how do we measure engagement and how do we get artists engaged? We set out to measure content creation - who was creating content around a particular artist, around a particular topic, and getting the viral word-of-mouth out".
Next up, Nokia. You know, Nokia. Oh, come on, you remember Nokia. It was the cool option when a mobile purchase was "hmm, Motorola or Nokia". Had that really shit download service called Comes With Music? Ah yes, there you go. Well, the phone maker's latest play in the music space - in some markets - is Nokia Music, a free-to-use interactive-radio-style streaming service for Nokia Lumia owners. Well, now there's also Nokia Music+, a premium option which offers more track skipping, offline play and other gubbins. Says Nokia's VP Entertainment Jyrki Rosenberg: "By removing barriers like adverts and sign-ins, Nokia Music makes it easy for users to discover and enjoy music on the go. Nokia Music+ now provides increased control over the listening experience at half the cost of many third party services".
Next up is Samsung, which has revealed ambitions to make its previously reported Music Hub service - currently an enticement to buy the consumer electronics giant's devices - accessible beyond Samsung's own gadgets. According to The Next Web, which spoke to the company's TJ Kang ahead of his MIDEM appearance, Samsung recognises that consumers want to be able to access their music service of choice from multiple devices, and if their smartphone, tablet and laptop are all from different manufacturers, with just one a Samsung product, that makes Music Hub as it currently stands less attractive. It's early days on the device-expansion ambition so far, though with Music Hub accessible on certain Samsung phones via an Android app, presumably expanding the music service to other Android devices wouldn't be so tricky.
And finally, 'social listening' service Soundrop has launched a new Facebook app, meaning users will no longer need a Spotify account to use the service. The Facebook based 'rooms' - essentially collaborative playlists - will draw on YouTube and VEVO for music, though playlists, track voting and chat will also be mirrored within the existing Spotify app.
Soundrop CEO Inge Andre Sandvik told CMU: "We're excited to make Soundrop available in the main place where artists connect with their fans. Whether you want to use VEVO and YouTube or Spotify as your music service, Soundrop has you covered. We streamed more than 500 million tracks last year in Spotify, and now we're excited to help artists accelerate their video traffic by bringing our same addictive social music service to Facebook".
At launch, artists running 'rooms' via their Facebook pages include Owl City, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip, ABBA, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Devlin and Delphic, many of whom will be chatting to fans as they listen to their music in the next few days.
And that's enough MIDEM updates for now. My mouth's getting dry, and I can't justify another fifteen euro shot of cola.
BIEBER SHARES ROMANTIC HEARTBREAK THROUGH LOVELY LYRICS
Speaking about his split from Gomez, and the frequent media and online speculation about the couple, the pop star told Billboard: "I'm not in the happiest place that I've ever been. I'm trying to get through what I'm going through... I have my really close friends to cheer me up and keep me going... There's so many rumours. People say I call Selena every day and she won't pick up the phone or I'm chasing her down, and these are all fake stories. I don't go on blogs or anything like that [but] I hear things. People tell me if something happens on the Internet. It gets back to me, definitely".
Confirming that he'd written a new ballad about his ex, which you can listen to here, Bieber revealed that the track is called 'Nothing Like Us' and includes the lines "Gave you everything, Everything I had to give, girl, why would you push me away?" and the possibly short-sighted lyrics: "Nothing can ever, ever replace you, Nothing can make me feel like you do".
Talking of pop couplings, back in the UK, The Sun assures us One Direction's Zayn Malik has spent the night with his girlfriend, Little Mixer Perrie Edwards, despite the tab revealing his infidelities this weekend just gone. So that's nice.
1D don't really write their own songs, but perhaps one of their songwriting team could help Malik also express his recent romantic stresses through some beautiful lyrics. Maybe: "I shagged a waitress, while you were gigging in Hull, but now I'm back in bed with you, that's what makes you beautiful".